Bexley News

State report cards

Preliminary results bode well for Bexley

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

It appears the Bexley City School District will earn an "excellent with distinction" rating on its state report card for the 12th year in a row, according to slimmed-down data made public by the state last week.

The Ohio Department of Education released only partial test data Wednesday, Sept. 26, citing the ongoing investigation by State Auditor David Yost into alleged irregularities in the reporting of student attendance by school districts throughout the state.

The state is looking into inconsistencies in attendance reported by dozens of school districts throughout Ohio, including Columbus City Schools, questioning whether data has been tampered with in order to improve state test scores.

Earlier this month, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to release much of the preliminary data for the 2011-12 state report cards, but not everything. Additional report card data for districts and schools will be released at a later date, pending the progress of the state's investigation.

As for Bexley's results, Superintendent Michael Johnson said, "I think everyone in the schools worked very hard for that designation. I think it's a reflection of the students and the faculty -- a very positive one."

Johnson said he was glad to have even partial results released.

"We do use the information in terms of our planning, so I'm glad we have it for that reason alone," he said.

Johnson said the district uses the data for planning and setting goals, and for comparing year to year.

According to the data, which normally is released to districts in late August, students in Bexley passed all testing areas of the Ohio Achievement Assessments -- meeting all 24 respective indicators on the state report card.

It also met the state's graduation benchmark, actually coming in well above with a 98.4 percent graduation rate.

Bexley also ranked well in the "value-added" growth category. Bexley City Schools scored "above" the benchmark, which means students in the district are growing in terms of learning, on average, more than a year at a time.

Value-added is a calculation of the growth, or progress, that each individual student makes on academic tests from year to year. The progress of each student (as opposed to a one-time "snapshot") is what is used to assess the effectiveness of a school or district.

The Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, standard also was met by Bexley, according to the data released last week. AYP measures reading and math proficiency within a number of subgroups, including English as a Second Language learners and students with disabilities. If a district does not meet the standard in even one subgroup, it does not receive credit for AYP on the state report card.

Data for attendance rates, the Performance Index and overall school and district ratings, such as "excellent" or "effective," are not yet finalized because of the state auditor's ongoing investigation.

"ODE is committed to releasing data when available so that students, parents, educators and the public can be informed about the progress of our schools," said Michael L. Sawyers, acting superintendent of public instruction for ODE.

"Schools and districts have had access to preliminary student achievement data on standardized assessments throughout the summer. It is time to share this preliminary information with others, with the understanding that the data is not yet final."

Johnson was hesitant to predict the district's overall rating back in July pending the possible implementation of a newly revised report card that would lower district ratings. The changes eventually were put on hold.

ODE has indicated that the results released last week are subject to change.

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